To explain how refugee newcomers and volunteers who are seeking low-cost food in their neighbourhood can use these apps, we spoke with Together Project volunteer Sue Anderson.
As an avid user of Flashfood and Too Good to Go, Sue is eager to share these opportunities with others. “I’m always trying to save money, and these are great!” she said.
Flashfood is her preferred app. Users can access low-cost food at stores like No Frills, Loblaws, Real Canadian Superstore, Your Independent Grocer, and more.
“The picture on the screen could be a block of cheese, a package of meat or some fish— usually for half price,” she said. “You see the exact picture of what’s on offer, you click on it, and it asks you how many you would like. You hit ‘checkout,’ you make your purchase, and you have until closing time or sometimes even the next day to pick it up at a special fridge beside customer service. It’s so convenient!”
Sue likes that users can see exactly what they will buy ahead of time. “You choose exactly what you want, and you’re getting a good deal,” she said.
As a Welcome Group Program volunteer, Sue has noticed how fresh food is a priority for newcomers who are unused to Canadian processed food.
“When I speak to new immigrants, they talk about how processed the food is here,” she said. “They have a really hard time adjusting to not eating fresh fruits and vegetables every day. They say, ‘My stomach isn’t doing well because everything here is processed. We’re used to going to the market, eating our dinner, and eating fresh.’”
Sue notes that Flashfood has many options for discounted fresh fruits and vegetables.
“I check the app throughout the day, and they’re constantly adding food,” she said. “It tends to be mostly fresh produce, and I’ve never gotten anything rotten, damaged or spoiled. The fruit and vegetables last me almost two weeks, and it encourages me to eat healthier than I normally would, because that stuff is usually so expensive.”
For newcomers who are more interested in prepared foods, Sue recommends Too Good to Go.
Through this free app, users can pick up “Surprise Bags” from participating bakeries, restaurants, cafes, and grocery stores. While users will not know the exact contents of their bag, they can choose between prepared foods, baked goods, assorted produce, and more.
“Too Good to Go is really good for pizza, doughnuts and cookies,” she said. “There’s also healthier places like the Village Juicery, and a couple of catering places that do hot meals.”
Sue especially recommends Too Good to Go for low-cost bread. “There’s a bagel place near me, and the owners put up Surprise Bags of eighteen bagels up for five dollars. I put them in the freezer, so that’s eighteen meals for only five bucks— and they’re really expensive bagels!”
Along with a cell phone with data, Too Good to Go users must have a credit card, Visa debit card, or Paypal, and Flashfood users must have a credit card or a Visa debit card.
“It’s also a great opportunity to get to know your neighbourhood and to try new things for a great price!”
Interview by Jennilee Austria